So I know this was over a month ago, but I'm a slacker what can I say. Anyway it was an incredible summer mission and I figure better late then never.
So as my 30th birthday grew nearer and nearer I decided I should take full advantage of it and do something awesome. I decided to check out the Holy Cross and if the conditions were right, ski the cross. My buddy Brendan was down to join me, so we got done working the night of the 30th and headed out to halfmoon trailhead.
We got a later start than we wanted (no surprise there) and after hiking over the pass we set up camp near east Cross Creek around midnight. Although it was brief, I enjoyed a few hours of sleep stargazing under a clear Colorado sky. We got going just after 4:30 and after a small detour a little too far hikers right, we managed to find a decent trail heading in the right direction just around sunrise.
on our way with a magnificent sunrise behind us
one of our first good views of the north side of Mt of the Holy Cross
We made our way up to Bowl of Tears lake, took a short break and then scrambled up the 800 or so feet to intersect the couloir. We had hoped we would be climbing snow for this section, and although there were some patches, it was not enough to link anything together.
sweet... still filled in
When we got to the couloir it looked good. The runnel was deep but the snow on the sides looked highly skiable. We saw one climber about halfway up, but by the time we switched our gear and got our crampons on he was topping out.
The snow was perfect for climbing, not solid ice but still very solid under the few inches we were kicking in.
looking back down the couloir... don't slip!
the runnel was deep and the climber ahead of us, (Jacek) actually climbed in it the whole way up.
taking full advantage of my first few hours being 30
getting up there...
We made pretty good time up the couloir and as we approached the top we were greeted by the other climber.
Looking back from where we came... Halfmoon pass is down the ridge lookers left from Notch Mtn. where treeline is. Makes for a rather long approach.
looking off the edge... where's the parachute when you need it
probably one of the better views of some surrounding peaks
We spent some good time on the summit taking full advantage of a calm and beautiful Colorado day. One other group summited while we were up there from the more standard north ridge. We finally decided to make our descent as some clouds were trying to roll in.
Brendan droppin in...
My first turns as an old man...
This is right where the cross of the couloir is...
Brendan negotiating the crux of the run...
Getting to the end...
looking south after we got out of the couloir
...and there's Jacek!
Looking up the couloir from the bottom...
This was shot looking back on our way up Halfmoon Pass. At this point I was extremely exhausted and just wanted to get home in time to enjoy a drink with some friends. Looking at this photo kinda shows the type of terrain and tough trail finding you got to deal with on this route.
Overall this trip is probably somewhere on my top five of epic adventures, and definitely one hell of a 30th birthday I will never forget!
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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